Thursday, 12 November 2009


mainly sunny, mild, temps 15

Really, this is stunningly beautiful weather...quite a surprise for London. Have only used the hot water bottles twice and Michael's used his long underwear once...and I haven't yet.

thank you so much Lee Ann for your very beautiful post yesterday. It was only last night when we were in bed that Michael turned to me and said, 'You know, you never did identify Lee Ann as the woman blogging today.' I thought about it and realized he was right. I am sorry if it has caused any confusion!

We had a lovely day yesterday. Breakfast around the corner at Jak's, on Walton street. Then home to edit some more. Another 50 pages. Paused at 11 for a minute's silence and quiet reflection...and, in the words of Bert Finney, to do my sums.

Not totally happy with what I'd done yesterday. It was right...but there seemed something missing. A layer. Last night Michael and I joined our friends Mike and Dom for dinner at a restaurant called Moro. A Spanish/Moroccan fusion. It had just been named the Observor's Restaurant of the Month. Packed...quite a scene. Wonderful to see the two of them again. Dom works in marketing...mostly perfumes and cosmetics. Very high end luxury goods and is brilliant. Creative and thoughtful. Mike is a senior editor at The Guardian. He used to be the host of the CBC Radio Montreal morning show. So it was a gas to get all caught up.

But getting to the dinner meant taking a bus (we could have taken the tube but we prefer busses) across London. Took an hour, as we expected. The number 10 from Knightsbridge, along Hyde Park and ending up at King's Cross. Took an hour. We sat upstairs on the double decker and stared out the windows at this dazzling city. At - great good fortune!! - at the Christmas lights that had just been put up. Harrods all outlined in season green lights. But the most spectacular was Oxford Street toward Oxford Circus. We really hadn't been expecting it and so were stunned at it's beauty. Apparently hovering over the brilliant street were all these Christmas gifts...huge and lit....and candy canes...and trees....for blocks. The department stores were dripping in cheerful lights. We felt like children...wide-eyed and giggly, pointing out one beautiful sight after another.

It also gave me time to gaze out the window and think, gently, about the edit...and find the solution. A few scenes I want to slip in. Short, but I believe crucial. Always amazes me when such inspiration visits. it never 'strikes' me. More like a kindly friend who I suddenly notice is sitting beside me.

This morning I slept in to about 9 then we hopped onto the number 22 bus on Sloane Street and it took us to Piccadilly, where we went, once more, to our new favorite breakfast spot in all the world. The Wolseley. this time we got a table in the huge main room...all white and decco. Huge arched windows. Fabulous coffee in a silver pot. Warm, frothy milk also in a silver 'creamer'. I had french toast and bacon...Michael had Cumberland sausage.

We're going back Monday for breakfast. As I said in an earlier post, I realize that is just who I am. I find what I like and pretty much stick to it. Not very adventurous...but wow, does it ever give me pleasure.

Michael then took me to the Anish Kapoor show across Piccadilly at the Royal Academy. I loved it! Very, very modern. Scultpures. Seems at times serious, at times playful. Very dynamic. Indeed, for reasons that I can't possibly explain, there were times I was almost in tears. of delight. Joy. It just felt so alive. So compassionate and inclusive. Divine...way more divine than the scalding at of 1600's Spain we saw earlier.

Then over to Fortnum and Mason's - which also almost brought me to tears....candy, tea, chocolates, jams, cookies everywhere.

then home on the number 14...and now we're back. Quieter day tomorrow...editing. Hoping to finish this edit. Will start the next on Sunday. By then I think it will be more polishing than anything else.

Speak to you tomorrow...hope you're well. And Lee Ann, we thought of you yesterday. And today. Thank you again.


Jeanine said...

"Always amazes me when such inspiration visits. it never 'strikes' me. More like a kindly friend who I suddenly notice is sitting beside me."

I just love that description.

Jodi said...

I love your descriptions of inspiration, London, and the food you're eating. You always manage to make me hungry!

I was just at the library returning a book. There's a cart there with books waiting to be reshelved. I glanced at it, in search of something new to read, and saw a copy of Fatal Grace.

This made me smile. I smiled even more when I saw that the book next to it was called "Eleanor of Acquitaine"!

Shelagh said...

Dear Louise,
I have just finished reading an amazing book called "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", by Alan Bradley. He has "Acknowledgments" at the end of the book, and lo and behold, he has a wonderful tribute to you and your "warm generosity and encouragement...". Also noticed (after finishing reading) your acclaim of it, along with other authors. It certainly is a treasure of a book, and I hope your other readers will also discover it. Mr. Bradley has another book coming out next Spring. Yea - one from you and one from him! Here's to more good reading in 2010!!

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Jeanine,

Thank you!

Hi Jodi,

Oh, that is very funny. Had that been a case, and you been Gamache it would have been a clue. Happily there was no dead body on the returns cart...I'm assuming.

Hi shelagh,

Yes, Alan Bradley is a fabulous writer and his Flavia a classic. How wonderful you'd discovered him. It is a rare treat to endorse such a great book and be in on the beginning of a treasure.

Marjorie said...


FYI, in case you are interested, Alan had been a "guest" (internet-wise) at Laurie King's Virtual Book Club in the thread about "Sweetness". Go to:

And you will find the thread in the VBC section.

--Marjorie from Connecticut (who agrees that Louise's food description on the blog and in the books leave her ravenous!)

Shelagh said...

Thank you, Marjorie. I'll definitely check it out.

Donna K wisconsin said...

I am so appreciative that you shared the Leahy Celtic/country music with your readers from 'The Brutal Telling'. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed the entire CD, how it makes me feel nostalgic (not sure what for) as well as exhilirated and ready for dancing.
You really add such richness to your novels and we can relate to Gamache's tears when hearing it.
The characters come alive so much more this way. Gracias

I envy your London experiences. Love that city.You certainly have a
'plethora' (ha) of cultural relatives and acquaintances. As for me, here in Green Bay, I'm getting pumped up for a H.S. musical-"Les Meserables" ha

Enjoy. Stay healthy . Write!

Donna K . Wisconsin

Marjorie said...

Donna K, et al,

What? I can order the music (the violin song played in the cabin) from "The Brutal Telling"? How????? Why did I never think of that? How did I miss that? Help!

Marjorie from Connecticut

Lee Ann said...

I realized that I never identified myself either--just blithely assumed everyone would know who I was! Thank you for the opportunity to share Thomas who really was a remarkable individual, if I do say so myself.

I've been envying your London trip! London is one of my favorite cities in the world though you appear to have much better luck finding good food there than I've ever had!

Lee Ann
Thomas's mom

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

So glad you're enjoying the music, Donna. I adore that particular piece - Colm Quigley - but also love the whole album and listen to it often.

Marjorie, et al, there's a link to colm quigley on the home page of my website. Leahy, the Canadian group that wrote part of it and performs it, has given permission to put it up. But the entire album, on iTunes and on CD, is worth owning if you like Celtic music. Which I do.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Lee Ann,

Well, I knew who you were...what else could possibly matter???

In terms of restaurants, we're so lucky to have Erkia, and brother-in-law Daid, who adores good restaurants and loves finding small, terrific ones. Hidden gems.

The Knitty Gritty Homestead said...

I'm a newcomer to your books and I'm not even sure you'll see this but had to google Colm Quigley as I'm reading The Brutal Telling. I met Colm years and years ago when I spent time at the Leahy farm and seeing his name in your book made me smile! Many if the leahys have connections here in the Ottawa Valley; in fact, I opened for the youngest Leahy, Angus, at our local Irish Gathering last week! I sing traditional Irish music.

So happy to have found your books. They've kept me enthralled all summer.